Let us go for a walk, hand in hand, in this temple lined with tombs.
Tombs of the heartfelt desires of the rich and the famous, who lived and died noble, a thousand years ago. No poor man stepped here, because to light a lantern in this temple, you needed to have a family crest, and no poor man had a surname, leave alone a title.
They still light all these lanterns once a year, attracting long-dead desires like ghost moths to the flames, and greedy eyes eager for things beyond reach.
No one buys lanterns anymore, says the girl at the temple stall, they’re too expensive, cost millions of Yen. The clips in her held silver elements tinkle with each nod of her head. Buy one of these papers and tie it to the strings hanging from the branches of this tree, with your wishes. People believe they come true.
But next year, you say, the priests will sweep them away, tying new strings, for new wishes tied on new pieces of paper, to be swept away again. And look how bare the tree stands in winter.
But that has always been the poor man’s way, I say, and what difference between a lantern of metal or stone and a piece of paper? It is the weight of the wish that matters– these lanterns may not fly. Maybe this paper will.
We tie our wishes to the tree. We walk out of the red-colored temple gates, to be greeted by snowflakes. You smile at the white notes of blessings that flurry and fall, try to capture them on your tongue.
I feel light. We walk in the snow, hand in hand, burdened no longer by the weight of wishes.
This was a piece of fiction based on picture prompts (from the Kasuga-Taisha Shrine in Nara, Japan)–something I hope to create on a daily basis during the month of April for the A to Z challenge, which basically requires 26 posts in 26 days based on 26 letters of the alphabet, one post beginning with each letter during the month of April, with Sundays off for good behavior.
So I’m asking you, my blogging audience, to challenge me with an interesting picture that you would like me to write on, and drop me story starters, each sentence/phrase beginning with a different letter (i.e. the first word of the starter must start with a different letter, from A to Z). You can do this in the comments on this post. I’ll keep sending out this call till I have 26 pictures and 26 prompts that really challenge me! The 26 posts will be featured on Amlokiblogs, my other writing blog.
I love your story and your idea for A-Z.
“It is the weight of the wish..” So Beautiful Damyanti!
I loved this story, Damyanti.
i love the subtlety and weight of your stories, Damyanti. You’ve really developed a nice touch on them, a fine point you deliver in a short span. Well done.
Another really nice story. Can’t wait to see what you come up with this year for the Challenge.
This was hauntingly beautiful. I was tingling as I reached the end of this story. Your closing sentences were amazing.
An A to Z Co-Host
Tossing It Out